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"That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going."
~ Forrest Gump
A little while ago I decided to give running a try, so I trained for a 5K and I ran it. Actually Trish and I ran it together, dressed as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia--don't ask. After that epic battle, I decided I'd amp up the training for a 10K.
That's where I'm at now, in training. I get up in the morning, put on my sneaks and log some miles. Today it was four. I really didn't want to run this morning because I was a little jet-lagged and it's shivery in the morning. It's starting to feel wintery here in Rhode Island and I haven't bought any full-length running pants. My capri pants leave about five inches of pasty white shin vulnerable to the early morning frost. Some tough Jedi I am.
But then I thought about the alternative to my run, which was much, much worse. Deathstar worse. Shuddering at the thought, I laced up my sneakers and bolted out the door. If you are thinking the terrifying alternative to frosty running is... my muffin top, you'd be wrong! Although that is a fairly scary sight too. No, the alternative I speak of is sitting down at my computer and opening Quickbooks to address the state of my finances.
Oh yes, it's that time. Time to face the facts. Time to NOT pay the piper (me). It may be November, but there ain't to Cornucopia for this Pilgrim. This is a lean month. It's no contest, running in the cold to avoid the inevitable gloom it is.
I put on my headphones and started my favorite training app, Easy 10K with Jeff Galloway. Jeff is the always positive, supportive, non-judgmental coach in my ear. Just when I'm feeling winded or like I might vomit on my sneakers he interrupts the music with an affirmation like, "You can do it! Look how strong you are! Don't give up!" So I choke back my bile, and keep on truckin'. Thanks Jeff.
About half way through my run this morning, I had managed to almost completely forget about the ugly state of my November sales projections when Jeff popped-in with a dandy little quote that really got me thinking. He said, "You can't be your best if you don't give it your best." To which I would add, "Every friggin' day."
It's brutal being in business for yourself. Just like running, it's hard to imagine what the payoff could possibly be when you are plodding your way in an uphill battle wearing cement shoes, certain you are going to barf at any minute.
It's exasperating because the improvements to your endurance and shape, financial or physical come in such tiny increments. Even so, I really heard what Coach Jeff was saying this morning. I couldn't expect to build the best possible business if I wasn't willing to give my best to it every day. Every friggin' day. So I finished my run and hit the books, Quickbooks. It wasn't pretty. I paid some bills but not myself. Ouchy.
I didn't stop there. Realizing I had to give it my best gave me renewed energy to brainstorm ideas for slow season money making. Trish and I put our heads together and came up with a few doozies we hope will cushion us through this Cornucopia-less month.
Like Forrest, I'm just going to keep running. I'm going to run out the door in the morning and put in the miles. Then I'm going to let my creativity and my ideas run at my desk and give it my best even though it might be more realistic to hang up the sneaks and crawl into bed. I figure if I keep moving in the right direction I'll get there even if it feels like baby steps.
Why? Because the force is strong in me, that's why."
And for anyone who's reading this and struggling uphill like me, I'd like to be your Coach Jeff and say, "May the force be with you," too.
Whoa, it's already November? How did that happen?
While you nurse the candy hangovers, here are some of October's top conversations going on in theLoop.
Nikon announced the D5300 this month, its first DSLR with built-in WiFi and GPS. Do you want one?
PPA Members: Print sales for large event
When you're shooting a large scale event, do you offer prints a la carte or do you make packages available?
PPA Members: Is it the camera or the artist that makes art?
Does a better camera make a better photographer? Discuss!
Post-Capture: Photoshop vs. Lightroom (and actions)
Which do you prefer and why?
Lighting: Studio lighting recommendations
Lighting can be everything for an image, what brands of lights do you trust the most?
Every year, PPA strives to bring education on the latest photography and business techniques to Imaging USA. We believe that there's great education for any type of photographer at Imaging USA--from wedding to commercial photography, the class tracks cover it all!
If you've got a certain photographic specialty you know you want to learn more in, you can easily sort the Imaging USA schedule by class track to be sure not to miss anything during the convention. It's a great way to plan your education schedule for Imaging USA 2014 in Phoenix.
One such track is the aforementioned Wedding track. True to its name, this track is built specially for wedding photographers and will continue to advance your knowledge in these areas.
The first available wedding class is the pre-convention Business Basics Workshop for Wedding Photographers. In this intimate, two-day setting, you'll assess the competitive wedding landscape and acquire those necessary, but too often avoided, business skills. Instructors , CPP, and , CPA, will walk you through the financial, tax and legal requirements of running your business, so that you are confident and legally compliant. It's a great way to kick-start the convention as well as your business in 2014.
Then, once the convention officially starts on Sunday, you can start your day by learning the art of capturing a moment from acclaimed wedding photographer, Ross Oscar Knight. In Moments Not Poses, Ross will teach you the three key components to document candid moments.
The rest of Sunday is open for you to explore other areas or the EXPO floor, but three wedding classes are on tap for Monday. Start your morning with a live demo class with . In Helping Others See, you'll learn the tried and true techniques from one of the world's top wedding photographers.
Next, you can learn tactics to establish a consistent workflow in Discovering Your Personal Vision with . Then finish-off your day with award-winning wedding photographer Roberto Valenzuela's Expand Your Vision by Gaining Control of Any Situation or Challenge.
On Tuesday, you'll be faced with the difficult decision of starting your day between two 8 a.m. wedding sessions. will teach you how to Transform Your Studio and Unleash Your Greatest Potential while Carrie Wildes, CPP, offers the wide-spanning Build Relationships, Book Weddings, Get Published. Cap everything off with Photo Video Fusion from Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams.
Remember, these are just a few of the great classes you'll find at Imaging USA--there are so many more if you want to broaden your scope! Be sure to check the entire Imaging USA schedule and download the mobile app to customize your schedule. If you haven't registered yet, view all the Imaging USA registration options and pick the one that's right for you.
Read more about Imaging USA:
A big blabbermouth, that's what you areIf you were a talk show host, you'd be the starI said your mouth is big, size extra largeAnd when you open it, it's like my garageYou talk too muchAnd then you never shut upI said, "You talk too much"Homeboy you never shut up-Run D.M.C
*Note to self: Clients want to feel comfortable and make friends; less important is the superiority of your albums, dummy. Read anything about the Millennial Generation, duh.
*Note to self: Our clients are thoughtful and charitable and PPA charities rocks! Keep giving!
*Note to self: Clients love to feel taken care of and appreciated. Who doesn't? More gifts!
*Note to self: Contrary to what you what you believe, the "sweet spot" for wedding budgets in this geographical area is $6,500. Create a new package for $6,200.
*Follow up note to self: The new package is flying off the shelves, and clients end up spending way over the "budgeted" $6,500 anyway.
We know theLoop isn't designed as a matchmaking service; it is the unique, exclusive online community for members of PPA. You can use theLoop to connect and network with other professional photographers, ask questions and seek advice, and share your knowledge and work with others. theLoop is a safe place for photographers to chat, share ideas and worries, and discuss sensitive topics like customer service, demanding clients, and more. All while being able to rest easy knowing any potential customers will not see what you post.
It's more than a website, it's a place to connect with fellow photographers and friends! The community is welcoming of all PPA members--regardless of years in the business or types of photography.
"I came into PPA as a complete stranger [to people on theLoop], a
newcomer with very little professional experience when measured against so many of you, and you have mentored me, made amazingly accurate and insightful suggestions, offered help or advice, listened to me vent - you have made me feel like a part of the PPA family. And I didn't expect that," said Carolyn Witherspoon, a new Looper.
So what makes theLoop so special and different than networking sites like LinkedIn? The connections you get with other professional photographers (and only professional photographers) that are in your exact same position! Compare work, business best practices and so much more!
"Where to start? My absolute favorite thing is having the privilege of seeing some of your work. I'm always astounded by it. It gives me so much to strive toward, "said Carolyn. "And reading through as many posts on varying topics as I can possibly fit into every one of my already over-jammed days! And especially the childlike thrill that floods through me when I see that I have a message! Right now I cannot imagine a time when I'd no longer want to be a part of this community."